Parsing tweeted links, part 2

woven heart tute

I come across a lot of interesting links. So many, in fact, that I need to spend my attention wisely. I asked around on Twitter, where Dave Malouf suggested using Instapaper and Bjørn Wang pointed out that your Twitterstream isn’t the only place we need to parse links.

Make a feed with ReadTwit

After posting part 1, Ida Aalen suggested ReadTwit:

I read it through Google Reader, and combine it with the Read It Later-add-on for Firefox. Works like a dream!

ReadTwit combs your twitterstream and turns your contacts’ tweeted links into a newsfeed that you can subscribe to in any feed reader.

Pros: you can ignore links in your twitterstream (nearly effortless)
Cons: since you’re not filtering in a low-information space (the twitterstream), you have to parse the richest RSS feed ever, one post at a time

Read the feed

I’ve installed Fever on my server, which works like a charm. Popular items float to the top, so you at least see those. Plus, there’s the added joy of not telling Google everything, at all times. Here, I can either save items to Fever itself, add them to Read It Later or bookmark them using the tool of my choice. You can do all these things in Google Reader, etc. and you can do some of them in a local newsreader such as NewsFire.

Skip/forget/bookmark/share/discuss … or Read it Later

When you go through your tweetlink feed (yes, I made that tern up right now), the low-effort options are skip and forget. The people I follow tweet about networked action in the form of Enterprise 2.0, social (I wish we still called it participatory) media, marketing, journalism and at times design. Most of them are conscientious linkers, so there are always too many great items to look at. Which means that a lot of links are saved for later, in some way or form.

I have lots of links in lots of places:

  • Read It Later: 367 links
  • Twitter: a few hundred, I think
  • Bit.ly: a hundred or so
  • Awesomebar: a few hundred
  • Delicious/Ma.gnolia: about two thousand

If Ma.gnolia, Delicious or someone else makes it easy to create short URLs and view usage stats, I can ditch Bit.ly. By all means, I like Bit.ly, but I like service simplicity even more.

Next, if I can figure out how to display faved tweets prominently in ReadTwit, I’ve removed another channel.

Last but not least, one-click bookmarking in Delicious/Ma.gnolia would remove Read It Later from the equation. Again, I think their iPhone app is great, but I want to push a Ma.gnolia/Delicious API in their direction, not the opposite.

Managing flows, not stocks

The point here is not to read, summarize, tag and share everything. That would be clever if managing stocks was clever, which it isn’t. The point is to acquire and retain an overview, and easily find stuff again later on, even without tagging or describing the content. I’m still looking for a way of marking content that I pay attention to (read, discuss, share) so that I can find it again later on. Preferably without any conscious effort.

Read It Later improvements

Are you happy with the Read It Later UI in Firefox? As I noted earlier, when my RIL lists get too long, they collapse. I would love a BrowseBack-ish (“Time Machine for Browsing”) overview, but I’d settle for a newsfeed that included the entire story, instead of just the links. Why? Fewer interruptions. Tell me what you think in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Parsing tweeted links, part 2

  1. When I go through my Read it later-list, i use the different ways of viewing it: alphabetical, by site, by date, and by postrank. And i've made the RIL-button send me to a random item in the RIL-list.

    Going through the list in these different views usually lets me remove (or read) about 50 links. I now have 177 in my Read it later-list, I clean it up before it hits 200.

    Letting links wait for a while is not a bad thing though: it might have seemed very important right there and then, but if it is not really that exciting 2 weeks later, you shoudl just be glad you didn't bother to read it then, and then just remove it from oyour list with good conscience..

  2. […] 2009 I described how I get through tweeted links. Since then tools have come and gone and new habits have […]